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The Iowa State Constitution, 2nd Edition by Pettys, Todd E (9th February 2018)

Part Two The Iowa Constitution and Commentary, Preliminary Material

From: The Iowa State Constitution (2nd Edition)

Todd E. Pettys

(p. 58) Part II provides a provision-by-provision analysis of the Iowa Constitution. Full citations to the referenced cases appear in the Table of Cases near the end of the book. The book’s account of judicial rulings is current through June 30, 2017; periodic updates will be provided on the author’s website, www.todd-pettys.com.

At the time of this writing, the Iowa Code Editor (housed within Iowa’s Legislative Services Agency) hopes to conform the state’s future printings of the Iowa Constitution to the text of the handwritten document that was signed by the delegates to Iowa’s 1857 constitutional convention. Prior code editors deviated from the handwritten text in various ways. Those variances are likely inconsequential; they typically concern such matters as whether to capitalize the terms “General Assembly” and “State.” Even if all of those variances are indeed negligible, this book aims to provide a version of the Iowa Constitution that is faithful to the 1857 handwritten text. This book also aims to be faithful to the original text of all constitutional amendments. Such faithfulness unavoidably yields occasional inconsistencies; some amendments, for example, refer to the General Assembly using a lowercase “g” and “a,” while those two words are typically capitalized in the 1857 document. Images of the 1857 handwritten text and the text of subsequent amendments are presented online by the State Library of Iowa.1

For many years, the Iowa Code Editor and other publishers have inserted titles for each enumerated section of the constitution. (The title assigned for Article I, Section 1, for example, is “Rights of persons.”) Those titles were not written by the delegates to the 1857 convention and are not themselves part of the ratified constitution. One should not make the mistake, therefore, of attaching constitutional significance to those titles’ phrasings. This book nevertheless retains those titles for such guidance as they may provide the reader.


See State Library of Iowa, “Constitutions,” http://www.statelibraryofiowa.org/services/collections/law-library/iacon/iacons (presenting the 1857 handwritten text and other iterations of the Iowa Constitution); State Library of Iowa, “Amendments to the Constitution,” http://www.statelibraryofiowa.org/services/collections/law-library/iaconst/amends (presenting a chronological list of all constitutional amendments).